Asdrúbal Aguiar: Venezuelan presidential term cannot be extended
Lawyer and Juris Doctor summa cum laude Asdrúbal Aguiar said both Solicitor General Cilia Flores and President of the Supreme Court of Justice Luisa Estella Morales construed the Venezuelan Constitution "lightly"when they said that President Hugo Chávez's reelection on October 7 guarantees the continuation of his incumbency. Such continuation "does not exist in Venezuela," Aguiar stressed
Aguiar, who participated in a video chat with users of El Universal, said both Solicitor General Cilia Flores and President of the Supreme Court of Justice Luisa Estella Morales interpreted the Venezuelan Constitution "lightly"when they said that Chávez's reelection on October 7 guarantees the continuation of his incumbency. Such continuation "does not exist in Venezuela," Aguiar stressed.
"The Constitution provides for constitutional periods that begin and end. An individual is allowed to be reelected, but each period has its own term; the president's term ends on January 10 and the president-elect has to take oath to start the next constitutional period (2013-2019)," Aguiar clarified.
"Hugo Chávez, whether alive or dead, is no longer President of the Republic (as of January 10) and the president-elect must be sworn in to become the new president," he said.
Replying to users' questions on whether the Supreme Court of Justice could move to Cuba to swear Chávez in, Aguiar dismissed this possibility. He underlined that the Venezuelan president can only be sworn in at the seat of the public powers, which is Caracas.
"There is a legal fiction by which territorial immunity is guaranteed to diplomatic venues, but the latter are not extensions of the territory of the Republic (...) What really matters is what the Constitution establishes: the seat of the national public powers is Caracas, unless Bolivarian interpreters (of the law) believe that Cuba is a state of Venezuela."
The news marked an ominous beginning, health-wise, of the year 2015: the Cardiovascular Surgery Unit at Hospital Clínico Universitario, one of the country's largest teaching hospitals, was to close completely on January 5 due to lack of medicines and surgical supplies. All patients who were waiting to be operated on were sent home. More than 10 patients waiting for surgery reportedly died there from lack of basic medical supplies in the two months prior to the closure.